May 6, 2010 — "Mount Liebig Photography Project 2004" will be on display at Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection from May 11 through Aug. 15. An opening reception will be held May 21 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.; no reservations are required.
In 2004, photographer Simon Davidson visited Amunturrngu, in Australia's Northern Territory, at the invitation of the community arts coordinator. He was invited to work with young people on a photography project initially devised as a diversion program to combat gasoline-sniffing abuse.
After some familiarization in the basics of lighting and composition, 19 young people were given disposable 35-millimeter cameras to document their daily lives. Their instructions were to "tell a story" with every picture.
The participants created 111 images, 16 of which appear in this exhibit. One photograph, "Untitled 20" by Patrick Collins Tjapaltjarri, was a finalist in the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award in 2005 and appears in John Ogden's book "Portraits from a Land Without People."âï¿½¨
The exhibit shows the realities of life in Amunturrngu, including images of young people sniffing gasoline. The subjects of these pictures gave permission for their public display because they are proud that gasoline sniffing has been eradicated in the community.
"The photographs take us on an intimate journey into people's lives to show us how the Mount Liebig community sees itself," Davidson said. "No outsider could capture these images with so much honesty." âï¿½¨âï¿½¨
Three contemporary paintings by Mount Liebig artists Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri, Wentja Napaltjarri and Ngoia Pollard Napaltjarri will also be shown. This exhibition was loaned by Watiyawanu Artists of Amunturrngu and Peta Appleyard Gallery, Alice Springs, Australia.
The Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Gallery is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. Free guided tours of current exhibits are offered Saturdays at 10:30 a.m.